The eagerly awaited first international regatta since COVID chaos subsided, Phuket Race Week 2022 drew over 200 sailors and their families from throughout the region to enjoy all the pomp, vigor and of course, competitive racing for which the regatta is renown.
Byron Jones, event manager was commended by competitors on the Saturday night prize-giving for his commitment to hosting the event in recent years despite much disruption from COVID restrictions. While Phuket Race Week 2022 was still a shadow of it’s previous self, the enthusiasm within the crowd to see the event return to it’s former glory was palpable.
The challenging weather of the Phuket wet season didn’t fail to test the sailors, with everything being offered up by the Gods, ranging from ‘champagne racing’ in 20 knots and clear skies though to a mere zephyr and a smattering of rain.
A big thank you to all the volunteers and sponsors who continue to make these world class events possible, putting Phuket back at the forefront, as a premier destination for sailing.
Established stalwarts from the last couple of years including John Newnham on Twin Sharks & Hans Rahmann on Voodoo battled it out on the race course alongside the previously travel restricted owners of Blue Nose & Surf Patrol, revelling in the near perfect conditions. There was of course, much discussion, and hope that the remaining Fireflies, currently dormant in Phuket, may be offered a new lease of life and soon join the competitive one design fleet.
In the larger multihulls, Warwick Downes on Bonza had ‘a bit on’ facing off against Dan Fidock’s Parabellum – an Extreme 40 fresh off a ship from Brisbane and complete with an experienced core crew from Australia. Meanwhile, the stunning Stealths from Asia Catamarans, under handicap, offered comfortable performance sailing in the mixed fleet.
“It’s fantastic to see new boats and fresh faces again here in Phuket, but we’re going to have to find another gear if we want to stay competitive against Dan’s Extreme 40!”
James Haste, Crew Manager of Bonza
The racing fleet was dominated (wholly) by the Australians; with the return of Ray Robert’s Team Hollywood TP52 from storage in Malaysia taking line honours easily in every race. Under handicap though, Alright & Let’s Get It On didn’t allow Team Hollywood to take all the glory with a well-respected race win each.
Cultural diversity abounds in the cruising fleet, with six different nationalities on the race course. However, overall Stuart Williamson (GBR)on Endeavor of Whitby & Niels Dgenkole (DEN)on Pheonix had the edge going into the final day.
Off the water
Cape Panwa Hotel, hosted the four-day event and offered the perfect, relaxed ambiance for an action-packed social calendar of events boosting crew morale and comradery throughout the regatta. Many sailors chose to bring their families, and extend their trips beyond the 4-day regatta, enjoying some much-needed winter sun, Thai hospitality and quality downtime far removed from the cooler southern climes.
“This regatta in particular, with Cape Panwa Hotel as a sponsor creates a great base and builds a community spirit for Phuket Race Week. It’s a fantastic venue, and creates an experiential destination for the whole family to enjoy – superb racing on the water and a little bit of luxury to relax and rewind off the water.”
Toby Wharton, Trimmer, SY Voodoo.
Following a two-year hiatus of international regattas and with some reluctance to travel remaining, this regatta has overwhelmingly installed fresh confidence in sailors and locals alike. The Phuket Race Week 2022 has proved that Thailand is well deserving in it’s place as one of the primary sail racing destinations in SE Asia. There can be no doubt that the future is very, very bright for world class, competitive sailing in Thailand.
As a final note, the increasingly vociferous murmurs from amongst the sailors in support and anticipation of the hasty revival of the Kings Cup and Raja Muda regattas were hard to ignore….
You can check out some footage aboard Dan Fidock’s Extreme 40 ‘Parabellum’ here